JAMESTOWN, N.D. (Pam Musland) — Family farmers and the Renewable Fuel Standard took a hit on Tuesday, as the Environmental Protection Agency exempted one of the nation’s largest oil refining companies from complying with the biofuels regulation. Hardship waivers were granted to three Andeavor refineries despite the corporation’s net profits of nearly $1.5 billion last year.
North Dakota Farmers Union President Mark Watne said the move is unfortunate, considering the low commodity prices and overall decline in farm income. The Trump administration had previously voiced support for renewable fuels.
“Farmers are told to get prices from the marketplace, yet our government is creating a market atmosphere that reduces demand and causes prices to drop,” Watne said. “When farmers need this administration the most, we are getting broken promises.”
For refineries producing less than 75,000 barrels a day, a hardship waiver exempts those that can demonstrate they suffer a “disproportionate economic hardship” from RFS compliance costs. The waivers come at a time of uncertainty in agriculture with ongoing farm bill negotiations and trade woes with China.
“We need new demand, a new farm bill and no cuts to crop insurance — not strategies that further the economic pain to our farm families,” Watne said.